Here’s a copy of the article I wrote for www.happychild.com. In it, I actually admit to styling my children when they were babies. The use of a helicopter hat may or may not have been included in said styling, and my son may quite possibly have been scarred for life. For this I can only apologise and hope to be forgiven…
For more great resources on parenting, and raising happy children (clearly the site was not around when MY kids were little!) head on over to www.happychild.com.
Publisher, Yvette Vignando is a mum of three boys (there’s a special place in heaven for mums of three boys) who wants Emotional Intelligence taught in schools, and I am SO with her! You can hear Yvette in all her wisdom and good sense on Channel Nine’s Morning Show or follow @yvettevignando on Twitter.
Kids Fashion Week – It’s Too Much Isn’t It?
by Alison Triffett* 4th April 2013
As a personal stylist I have always taken great pleasure in making things look beautiful. Don’t stand in my way when I’m on a roll! I will style everything from everyday people to celebrities, TV commercials to photographs, food to interiors. I also admit doing it when my own two children were too small to stop me or have their own say. My poor little daughter wore a huge, floppy navy-blue bow headband almost from day one – everyone wondered how I managed to get her to keep it on, but truth be known, to her that bow had probably come to feel like a normal part of her anatomy! I mean, surely back in the early nineties all babies had bows growing out of their heads, didn’t they? I’m also quite certain that my poor son felt somewhat vulnerable and exposed when not wearing his (my) treasured little baseball cap (yes, even that multi-coloured one with the propeller on top!).
I love to see anyone well-dressed – adult or child – but when it comes to Kids Fashion Week (yes folks, there really is such a thing!) are we taking things just a little too far? How much of it is needless pressure and how much of it is harmless fun? Oh where do I begin!
I disagree with child models wearing makeup and being styled to within an inch of adulthood. I don’t think children should be made to look like mini-adults or to represent adult aspirations for wealth, glamour and beauty. It doesn’t just apply to designer labels and is also not reserved for the wealthy or celeb parents using their children as fashion accessories. I’ve seen too many high-street catalogue shoots where the fashions are really just scaled down versions of what their mums would be wearing. Think peplums on 8 year olds; leather-look leggings; sequins and studs. The list goes on (see below).
Kids fashion should be fun and free. Kids should look like kids – Lord knows there’s only a short window where they can just be themselves and dress how they want to (or how their parents let them want them to!). Before too long, the seemingly inevitable insecurities of the teenage years will rear their ugly head with concerns about weight, body shape, labels and fitting in/finding their tribe. Why bring it on any sooner? Why not use the fashion industry to fight those very issues instead?
As Daily Life Writer, Candice Chung wrote recently, “Despite the continued growth of the $32 billion kids apparel industry (of which designer brands are a mere “garnish”, children and fashion have remained awkward bedfellows. The overwhelming feeling is that it’s wrong to taint young minds with a decidedly adult preoccupation. Of course, when it comes to the high-end goods, there is also a very valid question of “Does any 3-year-old really need a $722 Roberto Cavalli party dress?
Predictably, the children’s Fashion Week attracted its fair share of criticisms. According to a Today.com poll, 85% of people who voted thought that the Fashion Week was ‘inappropriate and sends the wrong message’, while over at Daily Beast, writer Tom Skyes pointed out: ‘Does the rise of mini-me kid fashion represent a threat to our kid’s innocence, too much pressure to grow up too young, or is high fashion for kids simply an aberration of interest only to a limited class of 1 percenters?’.”
I see no harm in parents getting great enjoyment out of buying cute outfits for their children but there is definitely a line. (In fact, I’m sure there may even be some who think I crossed it when I placed that helicopter hat on my son’s head!) But what is the difference between a kid’s fashion shoot for a catalogue and Kid’s Fashion week? A lot…
* Alison Triffett is a personal stylist and can be found at StyleCounselOnline. Alison has worked in the Image Industry most of her life, in advertising, modelling & TV Production. (Editor’s note: she’s also very good at drawing – be warned if you challenge her to a game of ‘Draw Something’ on your smartphone.)
A Personal Note From Al :
Personally I just don’t see the need for a Kid’s Fashion Week, which essentially targets the parents, and their desire to dress-to-impress and follow the celebrity mini-me designer trends. I’d rather see a Global “insert your own alternative name here” Week, created for and devoted to kids kindness! Actually, what about promoting a range of events and activities targeted to children which send a clear and strong message that it’s cool to be kind and inclusive; that’s it uncool to bully others and that we all come in all shapes and sizes and that acceptance and inclusion is the goal?
I’d rather see a week which promotes awareness and reminds us all just how good our kids really do have it; how privileged they are. Perhaps major kids fashion labels could sponsor it, with all funds raised from the various events – yes, even fashion parades – supporting programs for healthy self-esteem, kids with disabilities or to help clothe underprivileged kids! Now surely that would be a far better way to spend some of that $32 billion industry? I certainly think so!